Mike Piazza on That Roger Clemens Incident: “There Should Have Been a Fight”


Nothing seems to make Jon Stewart happier than being face-to-face with a New York Met, whether he be past or present. Hope you tuned in Tuesday night to see him talk to future Hall of Famer–yeah, that’s right, I said it–Mike Piazza.

The greatest hitting catcher in baseball history was plugging his new book, Long Shot, which is a terrific read. (More on that in a moment.) Stewart assured Mike that despite the HOF voters’ densability on the last vote, that “You will get in–you got more than 50% of the vote your first time. Are you going in as a Met or a Dodger?”

Piazza didn’t hesitate, “Definitely a Met.” But he insisted he had nothing but good memories from his life with the Dodgers where, “I was fortunate, got coached by Roy Campanella, John Roseboro, Don Drysdale, Koufax…”

Stewart quipped, “If you’d come up with the Mets, you could have been coached by Choo Choo Coleman.”

Most of the conversation, which you can see below, dealt with the steroids issue, which, as Stewart said, was the reason no player was voted into the Hall of Fame this year. “Nobody got in…because of the steroids cloud. Now you can’t win with that. If you deny doing it nobody believes you. If you say you did it, then everybody just destroys you in the press. So why write the book?”

Piazza: “When no one got in, people were saying ‘He’s got to talk about it. He’s got to talk about it. He’s got to say something.’ Then when I came out with the book they were asking ‘What’s he talking about this for? He needs the money’…It’s not the money thing.”

A subject Piazza and Stewart did not have time for is the ongoing feud between the greatest hitting catcher and the greatest pitcher of his era, Roger Clemens.

“To this day, I don’t know beyond a doubt what Clemens was truly intending or thinking …There remain questions only he can answer. But with the extra clarity that comes with time, prospective, and video, I’ll go this far: there should have been a fight. It hadn’t been possible in July, when I was lying on my back with my head ringing like school was out. [After Clemens beaned him with a regular season game.] In October, though, it was not only possible but–circumstances be damned–it was in order. Item one: Clemens threw a broken bat in my direction. Item two: I walked toward the mound and asked him what the fuck his problem was. It should have been Roger saying something like, ‘Get your sorry ass back in the fucking box.’ Or saying nothing; just giving me a look, a gesture, any small, subtle, actionable trace of defiance. If he does that, we’re brawling. If he does that, the whole thing makes sense and continues down is natural path…But I had my perimeters for fighting on the field, and the World Series was sure as hell no time to set them aside. Before I could take a swing at him, it was imperative that Clemens note my objection and issue a proper invitation, a verbal is visible ‘Go fuck yourself.’ Instead, he turned to the umpire and babbled on about the ball.”

Long Shot comes highly recommended.


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